I am a former Minor League player who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates. I got released due to shoulder injury and I am now looking to start a career. I’d like to begin giving pitching and batting lessons locally in Missouri. I’m only 24 and still very energetic. I just don’t know how to get started. I have been approached by some little league coaches about giving lessons, but honestly have no idea how much I can charge. I also don’t know how to make this my main career and would like to eventually start a baseball complex. If anyone has any advice I would be extremely grateful as this has been a rough transition from being released from the only job I have ever known.
To figure out a price to charge, you need to figure out what the going rate is in your area. Start by searching online. Indoor batting cage facilities often have an indoor mound and offer lessons so check their rates. You can also search on Craigslist but beware of part-time instructors (college and pro guys home for the off-season) who often charge really low rates.
One option to consider is to hook up with an existing facility. You might have to share some of your revenue with the facility but this approach might get you up and running faster due to the facility’s advertising and existing clientelle.
As far as what to charge…who knows?
Like Roger said I have seen college freshman home for the summer charging $20 and former pros charging $100 an hour.
Depends on the area you are in ect.
Somewhere in the middle is probably the sweet spot.
As a dad who has taken my son to several instructors I can give some advice from that perspective.
Be organized. Nothing worse than paying someone and having him seem distracted or have him have to look for a catchers mitt to borrow.
Know what your approach is with technique. Parents will know if you are winging it. This doesn’t mean every student gets a cookie cutter approach. But, know what you are looking for. It sounds silly but nothing is worse when a kid a struggling hitting and his coach watches for 5 minutes and says “looks good to me.” There is a thin line between cookie cluttering it and just making changes to make changes. Know what your approach is to technique as a teacher.
Know your approach as a teacher. You are teaching children mostly. They will be nervous, uptight and or unsure to varying degrees. Figure out you can best communicate information to kids. Being approachable and friendly goes a long way to breaking down walls. One thing I have seen with kids over and over is they will “yes” when you ask if they understand when they have no idea. Remember, they are kids (even at 15 or 16) and don’t want to look foolish. Make sure they understand what you are saying before moving on.
Ask them questions and get them communicating.
Keep it simple. Using fancy medical terminology will only confuse the kids and or parents. Break it down into easy to understand pieces.
Chit chat and story telling is for before or after the lesson.
The one (yes only one) coach I liked that my son went to was friendly chatting with him as they warmed up. As soon as the actual lesson began it was all business. He did not take lapses in concentration as an excuse.
Be honest with parents. You will have parent with MLB dreams show up with a 14 year old who can barely tie his shoes. You don’t need to say “he sucks” but you shouldn’t feed their delusion either. “Lets worry about getting him on the JV team first. If he decides its fun and wants to keep playing, we can take it from there.”
Have fun. If you find yourself getting impatient or pissed off at the kids teaching kids is probably not for you.
As for the opening a facility/travel ball thing I would take some time with that. Work with an existing travel organization. See how much work goes into it, the expenses, what the income level really is.
Things to Consider When Becoming a Private Paid Pitching Coach
You’re going to need professional liability insurance – don’t skip this part. It’s expensive and it’s detailed enough to be very confusing. Most, if not all, Independent Insurance Agents have absolutely no idea of what you’re asking for, so be prepared to get a wide range of price quotes, a very wide range, and coverage that’s a broad brush approach to be a catchall kind of thing . Also, the contents of your coverage can be similar to that purchased by CPA’s, Veterinarians, and so on. Like I mentioned before – the policy coverage can be “one size fits all.” There are coaching associations that you can belong to that have coaches insurance - but then again, that coverage may be particular to coaches in a school or other setting.
Be sure of the quality of trainees that you accept. People with absolutely no talent will come to you and expect miracles. Just remember, trying to make the rent by accepting all comers does have it drawbacks. The biggest drawback being the quality of product that goes out of your business onto the playing field with your stamp of approval on it – that’s what people are going to see as a byproduct of attending your coaching sessions.
Parents … all parents, will have an agenda that you’ll never see or recognize. Some want only a “friend” for their youngster, someone to play catch with. They’ll also look for someone to mind younger brothers and sisters while their son/daughter is being coached. This kind of babysitting detail comes around very slowing, but methodically. Again, if you’re looking to pay rent, this part can be somewhat digestible with a little self-convincing.
Your work has to serve a purpose – college, signing bonus… something. The agenda thing that I mentioned above fits in here. Be very mindful of a parent just saying …” I only want him/her to have fun.” Be very mindful and careful of your results after every session.
Be very careful accepting girls. Girls have a different demeanor and a different physique to coach than boys. Their physical tolerance and endurance, muscle coordination and so on is very different than coaching boys. Don’t use your experience curve here by using girls to give you that experience.
Your trainees may not be well received by high school and other coaches. A lot of these men are of the mindset … “my way or the high way.” Your charges may end up sitting all season , or, playing a fielding position. This may not seem like a concern for you … but THAT situation can send a message to others … STAY AWAY.
Know the facilities that you’re going to need – open field, indoor, what…? If you’re limited to an open field, you might have to reserve space with your local park-n-rec department. If so, you’ll might at to pay a fee, provide a waiver of liability and so on. Don’t…. I repeat don’t, use your backyard. You’re placing your property and your home as entry ways and occupancy for people entering your property for the purpose of business. Your homeowner’s insurance DOES NOT COVER THIS- PERIOD. DON’T DO IT.
Don’t provide refreshments – fluids or otherwise. These charges that you’re training should never consume things provided by you – even water. Chocking, food reactions and the like can come out of no where.
If and when you start to justify in detail to the contrary and bickering of a father, grandfather, uncle…. you’re finished as a coach. Take charge during the explanation of your services… make a brochure that explains, generally, by age group, what you do and what you don’t/won’t do. Remember, you’re coaching a trainee – not their parent(s) or anyone else for that matter.
Give a full itinerary of what to expect before and after every coaching session. DON’T BICKER ON PRICE. Set it, stick with it.
Don’t accept rides to and from any coaching session in the parent’s car or by any other family member. Keep an arm’s length relationship.
And last but not least, a fully detailed questionnaire about the health and physical condition of your trainee. Require a copy of the physical exam given to the trainee’s school or other athletic association from the current or prior year. Don’t accept anything beyond one year old.
One last thing… you come from a business of quick and decisive motions, of endurance and politics. A tough nut to crack and cruel beyond words sometimes. Pro ball, regardless of the affiliation and level, is business… as cold and tough minded as they come.
You’re going to be doing a 180 degree turnaround in your life dealing with amateurs. So, leave the mentality of pro ball behind … far behind.
Everyone you meet will have different expectations and at the same time the same. It’s up to you to separate the wheat from the chaff. You’ll find youngsters that’ll have nothing in common with their parent(s) - wanting coaching from you. The parent wanting one thing and the youngster wanting something else.
As far as money goes - you’ll be in the dark about that all the time. Your main source of revenue will be the temperament of the local economy that you live in. If you’re in a working class area, times can be tough. If you’re in an up-scale area, your income will depend on “who” you know rather than what you know. As far as a per hour rate, that can be hard to set as well as “getting their money’s worth” after each session. The “going” rate can be misleading depending on what’s supporting the going rate used by others and where. An indoor facility that works in the winter months can set a rate that may seem high - per hour/per session, because of heating costs and the like.
Finally, if you’re thinking of doing this for a living and paying all the bills, that’s nearly impossible. Unless you’re associated with someone else with facilities and other offerings that spread the income base over multiple services. And if all that isn’t enough, it takes a lot of time to develop a sound base of operations - reputations, a following, testimonials, and so forth… lots of time… years in fact.